Is a Pope Necessary?

Excerpts taken from the Encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi of Pope Pius XII 1943

Chapter One

Is a Pope absolutely necessary to the world? To the Church? Is he vital to the existence of the Church? Is the Church itself necessary?
Is a ruler in temporal affairs necessary, or is the State necessary? It depends on how one considers the existence of man. Man existed before the State and long before the Church, but how can there be a commonwealth without a government? The proper end of man is the Beatific Vision of God in Heaven. We must know, love, and serve God in this life and thereby gain eternal happiness in heaven. But salvation comes though the Church, “Outside the Church there is no salvation”(Unam Sanctam. Boniface VIII (1302.) It is necessary for man to be able to obtain this end for which God created him, therefore both the Church and the State are necessary.
Man could not obtain heaven guided by the Old Law. Salvation is necessary to man or he lives in vain. From the time of Christ, the Church is necessary because salvation comes only through the Catholic Church: 1) Sanctifying Grace through the Sacraments; 2) Authority,and the Law.
1025. “The Church is the Body of Christ. And this can be deduced from the fact that Our Lord is the Founder, Head, Support, and Saviour of the Mystical Body.” This expression brings many beautiful thoughts to mind, perhaps not the least of which is that because this Church is the unchangeable Mystical Body of Christ, it is not subject to change in its constitution.”
1033. “In fact, after having solemnly confirmed in his lofty function, the one whom He had previously designated as His Vicar, He ascended into Heaven.” {Having completed its constitution with the designation of its Vicar, Christ left the rest to men. The office of Vicar of Christ though, was to continue in the Popes. As the First Vatican Council (1870) affirms: “If anyone assert that it is not the institution of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or of Divine right, that St. Peter has PERPETUAL successors in the office of Supreme Pastor over the Universal Church; let him be anathema.”}
1018. “It is most certainly to be maintained that those who possess sacred power in the Body are the ones who constitute its primary and principal members, since it is through them, according to the mandate of the Divine Redeemer, that the gifts of Christ, teacher, king, and priest are made perpetual.” {If the gifts of Christ are made perpetual in the hierarchy, then the hierarchy itself is also perpetual.}
1041. “For those who would remove the visible Head of the Church and break the bonds of visible unity, obscure and deform the Mystical Body of the Redeemer.”
1058. “Christ is the Head of the Church. He is the Saviour of His Body. For these words express a final reason why the name Body of Christ must be given to the Church.”
1044. “ must be maintained, although this may seem so in the first place because the Sovereign Pontiff holds the place of Jesus Christ,” {as St. Paul says: The Head cannot say to the foot, I have no need of thee.} “Moreover, just as our Saviour rules the church invisibly by Himself, He Wills to be helped {visibly} in carrying out the work of Redemption by the members of His Mystical Body. This is not a result of His poverty or His weakness, but rather of the fact that He Himself willed it so.”
1052. “He, Christ, lives in the Church, so that She is like another person of Christ. This is what the Doctor of the Gentiles confirms when he writes to the Corinthians, when without saying anything further, he calls the Church, “Christ”, certainly in this imitating the Master Himself, who from heaven cried out to Paul as he was persecuting the Church, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me.?” Nor are you ignorant Venerable Brothers, of the statement of Augustine: “Christ preaches Christ.” {These beautiful and impressive statements about Our Lord and His relationship to the Church, and how He needs His members, demonstrate the necessity of His chief member–His Vicar on earth. We have said that the primary and principal members are they who possess power in the Body. The chief of these is the Pope. Jesus governs His Church in a visible and ordinary way through His Vicar who is part of the foundation.}
1064. “Therefore we deplore and condemn the vicious error of those who dream of some kind of a false church, a sort of society nourished and formed by charity to which, – not without disdain- they oppose another society which they call juridical. But it is useless to introduce this distinction, they do not understand that for this very reason, the Divine Redeemer willed the assembly of men set up by Him to be an organised society, perfect in its kind and equipped with all the juridical and social elements to perpetuate on this earth the saving work of the Redemption.{This Church combines the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost, and the visible juridical function received from Christ; He said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost {spiritual, invisible}; but also:” As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you {juridical, visible.} These essential juridical, social elements, so necessary to the Church, cannot be confirmed without a Pope.} “Therefore, there cannot be any opposition or repugnance worthy of the name between what is called the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost and the juridical function, received from Christ, of the Pastors and Doctors, for as in us the body and the soul–they complete and perfect one another, and they proceed from one and the same Saviour, who not only said as He imparted the Divine Spirit, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit,” but also clearly gave the order; “As the Father hath sent Me, so I also send you,” and again, “He that heareth you, heareth Me.”
1068. “The very ancient and constant teaching of the documents received from the Fathers shows us that the Divine Redeemer together with His social Body constitutes one Mystical Person, or, as St. Augustine has it, the whole Christ.”{How is the whole Christ constituted in the Church today, left without a Pope? Only if we consider this an inter-regnum and intend to elect a Pope, can we consider that the Church is complete today.}
1070. “Above all, it is absolutely necessary that there should be conspicuous to the eyes of all, one Supreme Head by whom mutual assistance of all in the prosecution of the end to be attained may be directed. We mean the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth. For in the same way in which Our Redeemer sent the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, who acting in His place should assume the invisible government of the Church, so He ordered Peter and his successors, acting in His Person on earth, to provide a visible direction to the Christian community.” {Both visible and invisible Church are necessary. The papal Encyclical [Mystici Corporis Christi] makes it clear why the Church cannot be continued without a Vicar for a long period of time. These impressive statements about Our Lord and His relationship to His Mystical Body and His need of His members demonstrate the necessity of His chief Member, His Vicar, on earth. The Pope [Pius XII ] said that the primary and principal members are they who possess power in the Body. The head of these is the Pope.}

Chapter Two

The Heresy of the Perennial Headless (Acephalic)
“The desire to operate actively is to offend God who wants to be the only agent; therefore it is necessary to abandon oneself wholly in God and thereafter to continue in existence as an inanimate body”.- The Quietist Heresy of Michael of Molinos, condemned by Pope Innocent XI,{Dz. 1222.}
Introduction: The Sect of the Headless (“Acephalic”)
After the Council of Chalcedon, some groups condemned by this Council began to wander without a head or leader (Acephalic) in certain Eastern regions. From one of these groups around 630 AD, the doctrine of “Monogism” was originated by Emperor Heraclius, which later, at the time of Pope Honorius I became the Monothelistic heresy. Today the “Acephalic” or headless has reappeared with another doctrine, but with the same denial of a Visible Head in the Church, not only as a consequence of the papal vacancy due to public heresy, but also as a doctrine which affirms the impossibility, the invalidity and the unlawfulness of the specific juridical means of terminating the vacancy: that is to affirm the perennial vacancy, a church without a head (“non tenes caput” Col;1, 19). Such a horrible heresy is sustained with clear psychological accents in the letter of November 7th, 1990, “Of a Papal Election–A summary of our position {taken from Britons’ Library}.
They set aside the teachings of great theologians like Cajetanus, Vittora, St. Robert Bellarmino, Billot, etc, and the dogmatic moral and juridical foundation of the Church, and they boldly defend “our position” as if in the Church, it were licit for everyone to freely propagate their own opinions without paying attention to what the Catholic Church has always taught. Our objective is not to document directly the doctrines of those famous theologians, but to refute the foolishness and the Heresy that is now being spread (“sub specie pietas”) under the mask of piety {(Ds. 809 ;Dz 434)
Those doctrines originated in France and have ramifications in other countries. They are also related to other heretical doctrines (like the “papa materialiter-/- papa formaliter” from Fr Gerard des Lauriers and the Abbe Barbara.) We believe that even those who say that they are “united” with the heretic disguised as pope. {although they do not obey him at all- like the SSPX}
They deviate from their principal duty by inventing doctrines, and they contradict themselves because they are afraid of fulfilling that duty in the extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances currently existing in the Church. All agree in the books and articles on the situation of extreme need present within the Church; they speak about the heresies that are freely propagated at all levels, but they are frightened when they must define the consequences of such a situation for the social order of the Church.
They attach themselves to human law by opposing divine superior norms, as if the intention of the legislator were to IMPEDE what is of absolute necessity for the existence of the Church: the hierarchy of Holy Orders and the hierarchy of Jurisdiction.
This is the new Sect of the Headless, without an hierarchy, without sacraments, without Pope, without a solution. Because of the crimes of heretics who separate themselves from the Church, they consider that the Church was destroyed or damaged in her juridical perfection and that she does not have “licit and valid means: for her recovery.”
1. The Suppletory Right of the Church
Let us briefly quote some teachings about the Suppletory Right [or remedial right] in the Church to elect a pope in situations where there is not an human law on the subject {“Vacatio legis”} or where there is an human law that is not applicable due to the specific situation at the time, the absence of the electors appointed by a human papal law, or the negligence of those electors to apply it, or genuine doubts concerning the identity of the designated electors, or even due to the impossibility of applying human laws because of a schism or deviations, divisions, and heresies among the electors. We will return at a later point to this doctrine. Presently, we only quote some sentences:

1.1 Cajetanus:
“by exception and by the suppletory manner of this power {that of electing a pope}, corresponds to the Church and to the Council, either by the inexistence of Cardinal Electors, or because they are doubtful, or the election itself is uncertain, as it happens at the time of a schism.” (De comparatione autoritatis papa et concilii, C. 13 and C. ,28)
1.3 Billot (Bellarmino):
Billot examines how the papal “election” would be implemented in an “extraordinary case” when it would be necessary to proceed with the election, if it is possible to follow the regulation of papal law, as was the case during the Great Western Schism.
One can accept, without difficulty, that the power of election could be transferred to a General Council. Because “natural law” prescribes that, in such cases, the power of a Superior is passed to the immediate inferior, because this is absolutely necessary for the survival of the society and to avoid the tribulations of extreme need.” (De Ecclesia Christi.) – {Bellarmino: Contoversiae, De Clericis, 1.1 C. 10}. Therefore: “non est dubitandum” [one cannot doubt], “one must accept without difficulty” that the Church always has and will always have, in any situation, even in the most difficult and extraordinary one, valid and licit means of electing a pope. This is a consequence of the notion of a “perfect society,” which the Church is. “Perennial vacancy” is impossible in a society which must last up to the end of times. let us now examine how the aforementioned Britons Library people oppose this doctrine.
2. The Extinction of the Right to Elect a Pope
Britons simply denies the power to elect a pope, in case of the lack of Cardinals. 1 That article affirms that God cannot change the human papal law, that God must “respect” the papal laws, because upon conferring the power to the popes, He promised “to bind in heaven whatever they would bind on earth.” God would be self-bound and would be unable to change the law concerning Cardinals. Later they say that “theoretically,” “in abstraction”, they were in error according to the authority of the theologians. But, nonetheless, the authors- Britons- affirm “the correctness of this position (of the theologians) is not self-evident as some might think, for it is not antecedently impossible that the right of electing a pope should perish with the last Cardinal.”
Then, instead of accepting the common doctrine of the theologians, the authors oppose it with the doctrine of the extinction in the Church of the power to elect a pope. Yet they allege that since “The Cardinals have the right to preach, administer confirmation and reserve the Blessed Sacrament in any diocese.” Nevertheless, nobody would seriously argue that if all Cardinals perish, these rights would pass directly to the Bishops”(sic) (! )
2.1. Hierarchy of Laws
A contingent of human laws cannot impede a necessary divine law, or that law would become void. The human laws on the dignity of the Cardinals belong to this category, according to common understanding. Therefore, they cannot prevent the election of a pope, because it is a necessity of divine right, that is, it is essential to the Church. The right to elect a pope granted to the Cardinals by the human laws of the popes comes from the absolute necessity for the Church by divine right, and if this is not performed by those in charge, then other people must perform it. Furthermore, the other privileges of the Cardinals concerning the territories for the administration of the Sacrament are already shared by the other Church ministers inside each diocese. And, in cases of extreme necessity, any minister of the Sacraments, even an heretic, can administer the Sacraments, even beyond the territorial limits of their jurisdictions. Therefore the argument opposes what is a contingent human law to a law of the necessary divine Right: it subverts the hierarchy of authority and of the laws between God and men.
2.2 God’s Power of Binding
The power of binding and unbinding given by God to the shepherds of the Church is NOT an absolute power that confers upon men the authority of binding and unbinding God’s laws themselves, in such a way that God is obliged to “respect” and “obey” any human law promulgated by a pope. If that were the case, any pope could change the divine constitution of the Church and eliminate all the divine precepts. “No one, but God Himself can grant a dispensation from the commandments that come from God.” (St. Thomas, 1-2,97,4 ad 4). “The pope cannot alter any law of divine right, neither by dispensation nor by abrogation. This is the conclusion of all theologians, without any debate whatsoever.” (Vitoria, “De Potestate Papale et concilii, Prop.1) Thus, that thesis by Britons is based on gross juridical ignorance
2.3 Denial of Reason and Faith
What is or what is not “evident” in matters of faith comes from Revelation as interpreted by the teaching or “Magisterium” of the Church and not through the free opinion of each person. Even in the natural order, in temporal society, it is obvious to elect or appoint a ruler. In the supernatural order of the Church, Revelation tells us: “Ubi non est gubernator populus coruet.” {Where there is not government, the people are doomed to destruction} (Proverbs. 11, 14.) And the magisterium of the Church teaches solemnly that Peter will always have “perpetual successors”. {Ds. 3058; Dz.1825.} Therefore, it is not variable like the “situations” and the crimes of heretics. It is not relative to situational variations.
3. Practical Impossibility of a Papal Election
Britons says; “The norm of the suppletory power to elect a pope is theoretically possible, “a theological possibility “in abstract.” ”However it is practically impossible to exercise it. And this is so because the validity of an election requires the consensus of all Catholics throughout the world.” But, this consensus is impossible because, even among the theologians, there is not a consensus about who would be the electors of the pope: Billot and Cajetanus say that the election corresponds to the Council; Dom Grea believes that the electors are the members of the Roman Clergy; Bellarmino thinks that they are the Roman Clergy and nearby bishops. Billot quotes Franzelin, who says that in the Council of Constance, Gregory XII, who was the legitimate pope, granted powers to the Council, so the law of Suppletory Right was not used.
Therefore, without a general agreement, some Catholics would have the right of rejecting the elected pope. Without that agreement, there would be arguments and schism. So, the pope would be doubtful and, therefore null. There is a “moral impossibility for a valid election.” There is also the question of whether the lay people should be allowed to participate in the election.
3.1 Impossibility and Possibility
Any universal norm of action has the purpose of ruling the practice, it is a “norma agenda” and a simple abstract theory. Pius XII condemned the “Situation Ethics” of the Modernists, where the norm itself is altered according to the current “situation”: “moral law includes necessarily and universally all the concrete or particular cases in which its concepts are verified.” (Alloc. 18-04-1952. New Moral.) Therefore, Canon 20 teaches that upon lacking a general law or a particular law, “norma sumenda est”…one should act according to the general principles of law, of practice, and of the common sentences of the Doctors. “The Law” is not here for mere abstract sentence; for it has with the imperative authority of the will of the legislator. And, in the case of the “Divine Legislator,” Who made the divine constitution of the Church, and “wanted” that within Her, “popes, shepherds and doctors”, would exist until the end of time.”(Ds 3050.Dz 1821) Therefore God wanted electors up to the end of time. He ordered electors whenever a vacancy would occur. And God never commands things that could be impossible to be obeyed in practice, neither morally nor juridically. This affirms the Jansenius’ heresy that : “Some of God’s precepts are impossible (…) because of the lack of grace that could make them possible” (Ds 2001; Dz 1092 ) Many moral and juridical precepts present difficulties to be obeyed, but none of them could be labelled as “impossible”. What is a necessary dogma in the divine constitution of the Church cannot be either “morally” or “practically” impossible. {Therefore to claim that the line of popes has come to an end before the end of time is to make oneself an heretic.} Impossibility means an absence of means to attain the end and a perfect society juridically has always the means to attain its final goal in itself. In this case the Suppletory Right taught by the Doctors is the “norma agenda” indicated by Canon 20. which comes from the “general principles of the law and the consensus of the Doctors of the Church.” Therefore, it is the law of God and of the Church: On lacking a specific law , the Church always provides a generic law for extraordinary cases, as in the case of the lack of electors appointed by human law. In the First Vatican Council Bishop Zinelli, Defender of the Faith, judged that probably there would never be the case of an heretic {who was invalidly elected as a pope,} but he added: “However, God is never absent in the necessary things, therefore if God would allow such a terrible evil, there would not be lacking ways of solving it.” (non deerunt media ad providendum) [Msi. 52, 1109-Salaverry, De Ecclesia Christi, V.1, p. 696]
3.2 False Inexistence of Consensus
About the universal consensus of Catholics for a papal election, it is necessary to distinguish between the consensus and its cause. Neither is faith the object of free acceptance, nor the general principle of the Law which comes from Divine Right. So, it is not a matter of free choice to believe or not to believe in the necessity of a pope, in the existence of a “perpetual successor” of Peter, and therefore in the existence of “perpetual electors”, and in the duty of electing a pope, when the See is empty. This is not a matter of free choice even for the pope. God granted the pope the freedom of ruling according to his law, or, in contingent matters, according to his prudence. Even in these later cases he has the duty to follow the prudence of the Legislator rather than his personal prudence.
God did not determine the form of the papal election, but the necessity of the papal election continues to be of divine mandate and it is contrary to the faith to deny the possibility of the election.
It is also false to state that Catholics do not have a consensus about the general principles of the law, and about the necessity of the pope and his election. This consensus is a dogmatic consequence; the truths of the faith come “non ex consensus Ecclesiae” but “ex se esse”{not from the consensus of the Church but [unable to be reformed] of themselves} Ds. 3074; Dz 1839. Here there is NO freedom of opinion. There are “theological reasons” to believe and to act this way. The statement about the freedom of opinion belongs to Vatican II, as well as the “aequalitas juridical” of all religions, which are the fruits of the Modernist agnosticism.
We have in the Church of Christ a double unity that is “required by divine right.” Before the unity of the rule and government of the pope, exists the unity of faith, the “coetus fidelium” [assembly of the faithful], which is also united by the rule of the organisation (Ds 3306; Dz. 1838). Therefore, those who previously did not belong to the “coetus fidelium”, do not have the right to participate in a papal election: they have neither an active nor a passive voice in the Church. (Paul IV, Cum ex Apostolatus) {Both of these unities are included in the Mark of the Church}
Those who do not accept canon 20, do not accept the divine principles of the Law of the Church. Therefore, not to accept what is of a necessity for the means of the existence of the Church is NOT TO BE A CATHOLIC. The Creed is the “firm and unique foundation in religion over which the powers of hell will not prevail.”{Ds 1500; Dz 782}
However, it is possible to unite the community of the faithful, not on the consensus of free opinion, but on the general principles of the Law, that are dogmatically imposed on everyone. The Protestants will stay outside: they never participate in a true papal election. Those who follow them are in the same circumstances. The elections in the first millennium of the Church were not invalid because they argued about contingent matters, that generate schisms. Neither did those facts prevent the elections. If the civil society is able to agree on an electoral law in free matter, with much more reason Catholics can. But one who does not consent to the principles and foundations of the Church IS NOT A CATHOLIC.
Consensus among Theologians
This is what Cajetan affirms. Opinions are not equal and equivalent, as if there were nonexistent in the areas of reason and faith a criterion of distinction between truth and error in matters of absolute necessity for the Church. If that were the case, the Church Herself would be dependent on human contingent facts.
3.4 The Council of Constance
To allege that in the Council of Constance all papal laws were observed because Gregory XII, according to the opinion of Franzelin, was the legitimate pope and gave authorisation to the Council for the election of a pope, before his own resignation is a controversial matter, a present position that was [not] clear at the time of the Great Western Schism. Therefore, even if this statement could be proven today, that would not change the doctrine of the Suppletory Right in situations of impossible application of the papal law.
The Right does not come from singular concrete facts, according to the teaching of Pius IX (Ds 2959; Dz 1759): quite the opposite, the concrete facts “must be” conformed and ruled by the Right. If the opposite were the case, we would have the relativist and positivist “Right” of the agnostic democracies, of the atheists, of the French Revolution, and of Vatican II. Therefore, if in Constance, the Council would have followed the papal laws on admitting “other electors” in addition to the Cardinals, that only confirms that the norm of appointment of the electors is a mere human right, and that, on lacking those electors, “the Church” has the power of electing a pope. {And of selecting her own electors}
3.5 Right to Reject
In the Church, the “right” of adhering to religious freedom, “the right of not fulfilling the duty of following and adhering to the truth,” is an agnostic “right” and is precisely what Vatican II preaches, the foundation of all present heresies coming from this new “church” of Vatican II. Even in possible things that are merely probable, it is not morally licit, according to Pope Innocent XI, to follow the “least probable” and the “weak probability.” (Ds 2102-2103;Dz 1152-1153) Then, whoever tries to reject a pope elected according to the only existing means for the election, following the “norm” indicated by Canon 20, on doing so, that person is shirking his moral duty and departing from Catholic Church doctrine and the teaching of Her Doctors, and so he becomes a schismatic.
3.6 Doubtful and Null Pope
To affirm that a pope elected according to the suppletory norms that are founded on the dogmas of the perpetuity of the Church, of the popes and of the hierarchy of jurisdiction, is “doubtful” for that reason, means the denial of the dogma on which that doctrine is founded and the “doubt” of the truths of the faith. (Canon 1325 / 2.) He who “does not hesitate” to adhere to the perennial headlessness of the Church, affirms “the right” of doubting of those norms and is falling into the same denials and doubts of the heretical Protestants. So, that person accompanies the heretics on affirming the “nullity” of the election of such a pope and he is not a Catholic. Catholic popes are neither elected nor validated by heretics, in an ecumenical way. Arguments and existing schism in the elections during the first millennium of the Church, when clergy and people participated, neither invalidated the elections nor made the pope doubtful or null.
3.8 Consensus Among Theologians
Thus it is not true that there is no consensus among “Catholic” theologians about the perpetuity of electors of the pope and about Suppletory Right.
On the opinion about which is the competent electoral college, the Council or the Roman Clergy, Vitoria teaches: “In any case when the Holy See is vacant, paying attention only to the divine Right, the election is the business of all bishops of Christendom” (Pro. 21, ibidem). It is obvious that the participation of the “Roman clergy” as well as the “Roman people” is of human right, and comes from a human law that was abolished by Nicholas II (“In nomine Domine.”), and totally by Alexander II (“Licet”). After these decrees, the “Roman clergy” for all purposes, is the College of Cardinals. Therefore, when this is lacking, the “Roman clergy” is lacking. So if we pay attention only to the divine Right (since in this case we have a “vacatio legis”, that is the lack of a specific law in the human right) there is no doubt that the Suppletory Right of the first level passes to the College of residential Bishops, and if they are missing, because of the same law, then to “ad totam Ecclesiam”.
4. Denial of the Necessity of the Pope
The central question in the dogmatic area in the Britons’ article is the heretical statement that in the Church a pope is not “absolutely necessary” because he is not “essential” to the existence of the Church. Therefore, their conclusion is that “it is not necessary” to elect a pope.
The argument is: if the pope were “essential” and of “absolute necessity”, the Church would cease to exist in any vacancy because “plus et minus non mutat speciem” {species are not changed because of more or less quantity.} However, the Church does not disappear in the short vacancies at the death of the pope; so the pope is neither essential nor absolutely necessary, and a vacancy of a thousand years or even in perpetuity is possible. The lack of a pope is a handicap, an inconvenience, like the amputation of one’s arm. He is “very useful”, but he is not necessary..{so says Britons!!- this is sheer HERESY.}
4.1 Necessity of the Pope
Without the pope, the dogmatic and canonical “Magisterium” of the Church would not exist and the Church would not be necessary for the salvation of souls. But, Our Lord did not trust to particular judgments the explanation of things contained in the Deposit of the Faith, but to the “Ecclesiastical Magisterium.”(Ds 3866-3867). Therefore, without a Pope, the Church would not exist. It is not enough to accept the “empty position”, to accept the magisterium and the ruling norms of the faithful.
In the same way that the Church is perennial, the Hierarchy and the primacy of Peter are also perennial, wrote Salaverry. (Sacre Theol. Summa, V.I, p. 584). These are doctrines defined by the First Vatican Council (1870), which declared “anathema” to those who deny that “Peter, in the primacy over the whole Church, has perpetual successors.” (Ds. 3058;Dz. 1825.)
What Britons’ article says is a flat denial of that dogma. The pope is the “foundation of the Catholic Church, Head and column of the Faith, he always lives and presides and exercises the judgment.” From him “the rights of communion in the Church are coming.” He is the Supreme Shepherd and Doctor of the Church and “Christ willed in His Church the existence of Shepherds and Doctors up to the end of times.” (Ds. 3050-3058; Dz. 1821-1825.)
So we cannot help but classify as a heresy such a doctrine, which is opposed to the defined truth of faith. He rules the Church with a “living voice“(Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”; Pius XI, “Mortalium Animos”). Then, it is absolutely false and heretical to state that the pope is only convenient and useful, but not absolutely necessary in the Church that Christ “willed” and “instituted”. A body cannot live without a Head. Where is the adjective “Catholic”, used by Britons coming from? In the Council of Ephesus, St. Leo 1 taught: “Peter, even today and always, lives and exercises judgement in his Successors.”(Dz. 112)
The Council of Trent teaches the necessity of the hierarchy of Holy Orders and also of “the canonical mission” that comes from Peter. (Ds.1767-1777; Dz. 960-967) {How shall they preach unless they be sent?} Pius VI teaches that the denial of the power that comes from Peter is an heresy (Ds. 2603; Dz. 1503 ). Leo XIII affirms that the Church should last “sine ulla intermissione in perpetuitate temporum” [without interruption till the end of time] “if the Church would not last, it would not been founded in perpetuity, and this is against truth,”- “the church founded on Peter will never fail.” “Ergo Ecclesiam suam Deus idcirco commendavit Petro, ut perpetuo incolumen tutor invictis conservaret.” (Satis Cognitum.- Leo XIII). And Pius XI said : “It cannot happen that the Church does not exist today and in all times as completely as the same Church that existed in the times of the Apostles.” (Mortalium Animos).
6.1 Purpose of the Election
The duty of Catholic Morality on ending the vacancy is to obey the divine norm, to unite under one government those who already have the same faith, those who already belong to the “coetus fidelium”. {Distinction here about membership rather than “coetus fidelium” is necessary.} The present objection affirms that the fulfillment of such duty “exacerbates the divisions” (already existent) and that as a consequence would not reach the desired goal. Well, those who are already hopelessly divided before any election, either about the traditional doctrines or the vacancy itself (Canons 188, 188 # 4, 2261 # 2, 2264…), even after repeated warnings, are either Heretics or Schismatics, and they should be legally considered so (Canon 2315 ). The objection tries to maintain an “ecumenical Church”, divided partially in the faith, with equal rights and freedom for opposite opinions. It opposes concrete facts to what should be by Divine Right. Nevertheless, the Church does not consult the Protestants to elect a pope. Pius XI denies the Church “is divided in different areas” because some have gone away from her (Mortalium Animos). Thus such an objection is based on the Ecumenism of Vatican II and the Heresy of Religious Freedom. It makes an alliance of the “free interpretation” of the prophetic revelation with a false idea about the Church. It denies the doctrine of Catholic Morality.
6.3 Individual and Social Action
It is not an “individual” and “officious” action, the one performed by people in agreement with the doctrinal duties and Church’s laws. Ontologically all human actions are “individual” actions and personal initiatives, even those of the popes, cardinals and bishops. However, morally and juridically their actions are ruled by norms of the public Laws of the Church, which confer them rights and duties or suppletory “authority to act;” “The actions of the faithful are spiritually united in the unity of government. Canon 20 obliges all Catholic people to act in a determined way: “norma sumenda est.”[the norm should be taken]. Then, such acts are in agreement with the Public Laws of the Church. They are not self-appointed, those who act in agreement with those laws, but those who act by their personal interpretation of the Revelation, converting the duty of “acting” into the duty of “not acting”. The duty of “personal sanctification” cannot be fulfilled when we exclude our social duties. When the appointed electors exist, it is up to them to fulfil that duty; when they do not exist, this is the duty of the “whole Church.”
6.5 What is really necessary
“What is really necessary; is what must be done;” what is included in the duty of our sanctification is the “fulfilment of all duties” and not only of those freely chosen by “our own judgement” (Titus. 3, 10 ), or selected by the opinions of other people. Britons follows the heresy what Wycliff preached: “Post Urbanum VI non est aliquis recipiendus in papam sect vivendum est more graecorum, sub legibus propoiis.” (Ds.1159; Dz. 589) [After Urban VI, nobody should be accepted as pope, but everyone should live in the ways of the Greeks, and under their own laws.] Britons only changes the name of the last pope, but their article maintained that heretical norm in its entirety, in spite of its being condemned by the Council of Constance.
7. The Duty of Abstention of Actions [by Britons]
Britons say: “God does not prohibit us to do what is in our reach; but one should believe that, in the present crisis, the duty is the abstention of practical actions, we must pray exclusively, until God intervenes.- It was the prudence of Noah in building the Ark under God’s command. Christ disapproved the action of Peter in the Garden of Olives.- “One must reject without hesitation the ending of the crisis by practical initiative; the crisis cannot be solved at the natural level because it is too big. It was produced by God for a specific goal and it will not end until this goal will be reached. We should not frustrate the divine plan by natural means, by a conclave. One already took place and it was a failure {Parallels with Pisa, Constance..} To be orthodox without popes, shepherds, sacraments, Mass, etc…the unique solution is prayer. We believe that the crisis will only be ended by Enoch and Elias, who will extinguish the vacancy, with God’s intervention and the death of the Antichrist. Until then; “only prayer instead of action:” the sole solution is prayer. It is not Quietism, the abstention of the duty of acting, and it is not against the sentence of St. Ignatius. The crisis cannot be solved by natural resources, by practical intervention, because it transcends the natural order, it is extraordinary. It is a lack of faith to affirm that it will be ended by any other way. Cajetanus confirms: “Where there is not a natural resource, as in the case of a bad pope, only prayer is the right and specific remedy; efficacious panacea when human means are inexistent. Well this it the present case. Then as now, only prayer is the means. We are few, without authority and full of errors”
7.1 Free Interpretation
If Noah built the Ark by a direct revelation from God, today God’s Revelation orders us to act according to the doctrine and laws of the Church, and not waiting for a “new revelation” about the papal election, about Sacraments and jurisdiction of Bishops. It is a Modernist Heresy to say that “the revelation, object of the faith, was not completed by the Apostles.” (Ds 3421; Dz. 2021) but that it is “the interpretation of religious actions made by human mind.” (Ds. 3422; Dz. 2022). This IS Exactly what Britons does. Nobody questions either the excellency and efficacy of prayer, or the duty of praying, but the existence of other duties. St. Pius V did not excuse the Battle of Lepanto against the Muslims trusting only in prayer. And the crisis was big and extraordinary then. During the Arian heresy, popes were elected; and at the time of the Great Western Schism nobody thought to put an end to the crisis only by prayer, without an election. They deny the existence of the specific means, the possibility of electing, by adopting the heretical doctrine that the pope is NOT necessary – to the faith.
7.2 Divine Plan
To affirm that acting is “to frustrate the divine plane” is a false doctrine. God does not want sins, apostasies, and heresies {or extended vacancies in the high offices of His Church.} He permits that they occur, but He does not have a “plan” to avoid those happenings. Morally he does not want them to happen while physically He allows the happening of sins. God is not the Author of crimes, even when He prophesies them because of His divine wisdom and knowledge. So, the divine will is that the Catholic faithful act according to the divine duties and laws, and not against them. The exegesis of God’s way of acting and of His will is given by the Infallible Church in Her laws and not by the free interpretation of the “plans” of God.
7.3 Social Quietism
Britons repeats “ipsis litteris” the Quietist doctrine of Molinos, even limiting it to the present social duties. Molinos wrote: “Velle operari active est Deum offendere, qui vult esse ipsis solus agens.” (Ds 2202; Dz. 1222) {To want to operate actively is to offend God, Who wants to be Himself the sole agent.} Pope Innocent XI condemned this heresy. Nevertheless, Britons repeats the same words concerning the social level. They repeat the sentences of Quesnel: “In vanum, Domine, praecipis si tu non das quod praecipis”, and “gratia non est aliud quam voluntas dei jubentis et facientis quod jubet.” (Ds 2403-2411; Dz. 1353-1361.) [Lord Thou orderest in vain, if Thou dost not give that what Thou orderest; The grace is nothing else that the will of omnipotent God Who commands and does what He commands.] Clement XI also condemned this false doctrine. The Council of Trent condemned the doctrine of Luther: “Faith and confidence in God are enough, without works.” (Ds. 1562: Dz. 822) “nihil omnio agere et passive se harbere.”(Ds 1554; Dz. 814) [Absolutely nothing makes and behaves in a merely passive way;] salvation “sine conditione observantiae mandatorum” (Ds. 1570; Dz. 830) [without the condition to observe the commandments.] Therefore, that doctrine of the exclusiveness of prayer and confidence in God is opposed to the fulfilment of social duties, it does not seem a Catholic doctrine but similar to the “faith” of Luther.
7.6 Catholics Without Authority
Vitoria wrote: “Notem est in jure quod non oportet ut electores habeant autoritatem ad quom eligunt”(De Potest. Ecclesiae Rec.2 ) [It is obvious in Law that it is not necessary for the electors to possess authority for which they are electing.] Those who elect a civil ruler do not have his authority. Those who elect an Abbot do not have the Abbot’s authority. Neither do the Cardinals possess the papal authority (Vacante Sede Apost. Canon 1.) Peter did not leave a law on how to apply the papal power to a person when the appointed electors would not exist; the Church possesses the suppletory authority of the orthodox bishops, who received it from the Holy Father. But even if those bishops lacked, because of the same law of substitution, that authority would be passed necessarily to the whole Church, not in order to delegate power to a pope as the ministerial Head of the Church (Ds 2602-2603; Dz. 1502-1503), but only to choose the man who, “jure divino”, will exercise the power that comes from God. In “vacatio legis”, the “only way available would be the election by the Church.” (Vitoria). If nobody else had the “authority” to choose the person who would occupy the position from which comes the authority for everybody, the See, from which the rights(…) for all proceed” (Ds. 3057;Dz. 1824) by canonical mission(Canon 109), then the Church would have died indeed. But this is impossible, so the logical consequence is that there are “Catholic electors” with the necessary and sufficient “authority” to carry out a valid election in any crisis, even in the present one. If in fact there have been wrong and badly prepared “elections” without previous regulation by those who profess the same faith (and only from them) that does not mean that elections could not and should not take place with adequate preparation, only previously excluding those who have self-excluded themselves from the congregation of the faithful people. If there were some who erred, not everybody always and universally is erring as well.
Conclusion: The Duty of Unity
We cannot foresee or prophesy future events, we have neither received special revelation, nor are we the Illuminati nor the gnostics. We do not know either when Elias or Enoch will come, nor how they will act, nor if God will convert those who are merely wandering, scattered among the millions of “Catholics” of the New Church, or even if through them, one day there will be the election of an orthodox pope. These are only “possibilities” that only God knows. We can only grasp the doctrines of the safe and perennial Rock of Peter, based on the dogmas of the perpetuity of the Church, of the hierarchy, of the pope, of the Shepherds and Doctors, of the power of Holy Orders and jurisdiction and of the Right of the Church. We do not invent new doctrines to justify “unity” with an heretical “pope”, neither do we recognise his permanency as “valid” either “formally” or “materially,” to justify the separation from the obedience of a pope who is considered “valid”; we do not invent doctrines about the situation of need, illicitness of the sacraments, perennial vacancy, impossibility of a papal election, or eschatological exegesis. In one point those prophesies are very clear; that there will be many “false prophets” at the end Times, and they will announce that Christ is here or there. Christ warned us so that we will not believe in them, and we will persevere in the same doctrines that have been always taught. Among these doctrines is the one about “perpetual successors” of Peter and the existence of “shepherds” up to the end of times.
It is an heresy to state a “general darkness” of the doctrine (Ds 2610;Dz. 1501) in the Church where “lux lucet in tenebris” (Lo.1, 15). But, “broken from the links of the visible unity, the forms of the Mystical Body of Christ are darkened, so that it can be neither seen nor found by those who ask for the port of salvation.” (Pius XII, Myst. Cor.Christi). Things of the Church “are seen by the one who believes” and are visible “for those who adhere to the right faith and not for the others” (St. Thomas. S.T.2-2, 1-4, and ad 3). Passing from the doctrines of the Church to practical action, since those who profess our faith and belong to the same “coetus fidelium” are dispersed throughout the world, as long as the lack of ordinary jurisdiction is not eliminated because of that dispersion, that is merely physical and not doctrinal, it would be useful to gather those people in a society that could serve for the better knowledge of the faith and of the persons who profess it, and that could help to prepare the necessary base for the end of the vacancy. The unity of government requires a previous unity in the faith and in mutual charity, a distinctive Mark of the true Church.
Laus et Gloria Deo Nostro
Dr. Homero Johas

This was written in 1991 in reply to Briton’s Catholic Library Letter number 7. Martin Gwynne and John Daly of London, England wrote Letter Number 7 as a rebuttal of the book, Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century? By T Stanfill Benns and David Bawden. This book was written to call for a papal election. It was written in 1989 and published January 25, 1990